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Head of Zeus
People of Abandoned Character
01 Oct 2020 * HARDBACK * £14.99 * 9781838932732

What would you do if you thought your husband was Jack the Ripper? A dark historical crime novel.

Fiction / FFH (Crime Fiction)
Extent: 432 pages  Format: 228 x 145 mm
Exclusive: GB CA AU NZ IN ZA SG US
People of Abandoned Characterby Clare Whitfield

What if you thought your husband was Jack the Ripper?

London, 1888. Susannah rushes into marriage to a young and wealthy surgeon. After a passionate honeymoon, she returns home with her new husband wrapped around her little finger. But then everything changes. His behaviour becomes increasingly volatile and violent. He stays out all night, returning home bloodied and full of secrets.

Lonely and frustrated, Susannah starts following the gruesome reports of a spate of murders in Whitechapel. But as the killings continue, her mind takes her down the darkest path imaginable. Every time he stays out late, another victim is found dead. Is it coincidence? Or is her husband the man the papers call Jack the Ripper?

Reviews for People of Abandoned Character:
'A mistreated wife suspects her husband might be the Whitechapel killer ... Compelling' Sunday Times
'An astonishing book' M.W. Craven
'A gripping and original take on the world's most notorious serial killer. A perfectly thrilling read for those long winter nights' Adam Hamdy
'This impressive debut builds up pace, pathos and intrigue superbly, with plenty of twists and turns' Woman's Weekly

Clare Whitfield is a UK-based writer living in a suburb where the main cultural landmark is a home store/Starbucks combo. She is the wife of a tattoo artist, mother of a small benign dictator and relies on a black Labrador for emotional stability. She has been a dancer, copywriter, amateur fire breather, buyer and mediocre weight lifter. Her first novel, People of Abandoned Character, was a Goldsboro book of the month.

Lead crime debut of 2020, which taps into our continuing fascination with Jack the Ripper.

Dark, twisty, sophisticated crime with a complex central heroine – perfect for book clubs.

Brilliantly topical central hook: what would you do if you thought you'd married a murderer?

MARKET: Sarah Waters; Laura Purcell; Gentleman Jack (TV), The Five by Hallie Rubenhold (non fiction).


'An astonishing book set in a Victorian London plagued by Jack the Ripper. Whitfield's narrator is Susannah, an ex-nurse who rushed into a rapidly souring marriage with a wealthy surgeon and starts to believe that her husband might be Leather Apron himself. I'd be amazed if it isn't dominating the shortlists come next year's awards season' MW Craven

'This impressive debut builds superbly, with plenty of twists and turns' Woman & Home

'A gripping and original take on the world's most notorious serial killer. A perfectly thrilling read for those long winter nights. Highly recommended' Adam Hamdy

'A mistreated wife suspects her husband might be the Whitechapel killer ... Compelling' Sunday Times

'A historical crime novel with real attitude ... Compelling, thought-provoking, and powerful' LoveReading

This impressive debut builds up pace, pathos and intrigue superbly, with plenty of twists and turns' Woman's Weekly

'Shockingly compelling' Woman

'In addition to being a thrilling page-turner, Whitfield's book explores several questions: What makes a person good or bad? Can we overcome our origins? Is our fate determined before we're born? Moreover, the book is rife with dangerous secrets – Thomas's, Susannah's, and those of the people closest to them' Austin American Statesman

'This debut historical mystery contains echoes of Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca and Jack the Ripper.The unreliable narration combines with richly detailed writing in a mystery with a shocking conclusion' Library Journal

'People Of Abandoned Character interrogates this fascinating aspect of storytelling while positing an unconventional solution to the Jack the Ripper mystery ... This is a smart, thrilling narrative that doesn't shy away from gore or trauma, steadfastly reflecting through its Victorian lens how our own modern societies continue to treat women and the poor. That this is Clare Whitfield's debut novel only adds to how impressive it is as a feat of empathetic, feminist storytelling' Criminal Element

'[A] suspenseful gothic debut' Shelf Awareness

'With a compelling central character, an attention-grabbing murder mystery, and an easy-to-read, characterful writing style, Whitfield’s novel is an excellent debut, and bodes well for her future career' Otago Daily Times

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